But you, O Lord, are a shield around me,my glory, and the one who lifts up my head
I am one who finds myself looking down a lot. Sometimes it is because I’m looking at my phone or because I’m watching where I am walking. Sometimes it is also just “introverting”. But the more I do it, the more I realize how much I am missing with my head down. There is the literal reality of this…our field of vision is so much more limited when we are looking down. But there is a deeper reality…when our heads are uplifted, we can see so much more of how God is at work around us. We can take in so much more beauty. We can look into the faces of more people. More “good mornings” and smiles can be shared. More blessing can be experienced.
This tree is one of my favorite trees. It is off the side of a hiking path I frequent and is not entirely obvious because of being off the path. (since it is somewhat filled in around, the tree is the one that is just to the left of center in the picture) However, what I love about it is how it feels like an upturned hand lifting up toward the sun. The higher up you look, the wider it spreads. I think I stop at this tree nearly every time I’m walking by. My kids have climbed in it, I’ve sat in and under it, and I’ve just marveled at its beauty. But if your head is down, you’ll miss it. So, as God lifts up our heads like the Psalmist shares, we see so much more of God.
I experienced this in another way this afternoon. A gentleman stopped by the church asking for assistance. All he needed was bus fare to get to work. But as he told me his story, I could just sense a feeling like he was walking around with his head downcast. Life had dealt him some rough blows and he was trying to recover from them with a new start. While our church usually refers people to an assistance agency down the street, there was something about this man today that felt different. I heard the words from this psalm in my heart as I talked with him. He needed a tangible example of God’s shield around him and an opportunity to have his head lifted up. I gave him more money than he asked for and he responded with, “this is a lot more than I needed” almost like he wanted to give some of it back. Before I could think much about it, the first words that came our were, “so has Jesus.” Jesus has indeed given us far more than we deserved. I then invited him to join us for worship this Sunday. I hope he will be there. As we talked, I was blessed to see him lifted up from where he was when he came in.
I don’t write this of “how great I am” but instead the many ways that this uplifting can come about. It comes in our actions – of looking to God and seeking to lift others.